7 Valuable Steps to Brewing Coffee That Will Make You an Expert

7 valuable steps to brewing coffee
Guest post by Shaun Pullen

Making coffee is serious business, woe to the Keurig pods.

The search for great coffee has become an American obsession. It’s right up there with NASCAR and colluding with Russians. Connoisseurs of the elixir of life can now please their discerning palates at boutique coffee emporiums stretching from Seattle to Key West.

However, a fierce debate rages on regarding the best way to brew one’s coffee at home. Some swear by the vacuum process while others pledge their fealty to the French Press or the pour over. Brand names like Chemex, Aeropress, and Hario are now tossed around as freely as Frisbees.

IF YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE YOUR COFFEE,
THE FIRST DECISION IS HOW YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE IT.

Making coffee is serious business, and woe to the neophyte who says, “I think those Keurig pods are pretty good.” Blasphemer!

So, if you want to impress the Caffeine Cognoscenti, you may want to follow these seven easy steps to make one helluva good cup o’ Joe.

coffee brewing steps

STEP #1: FUNNY, YOU DON’T LOOK BREWISH

If you’re going to make your coffee, the first decision is how you’re going to make it. Many people who are sticklers for great coffee swear by the pour-over method and swear even more when they run out of filters.

So, if you find automatic coffee makers an abomination and a tool of Satan, get yourself a good Hario V60. Hario in Japanese means “King of Glass.” So don’t throw any stones at it. This Japanese-made pour-over kit contains a heat-resistant glass coffee pot that’s microwavable. It holds 4 cups and is easy to use.

And best of all, it makes a killer cuppa.

coffee brewing steps

STEP #2: GRINDER FINDER

What? You use pre-ground coffee! That’s a serious misdemeanor in Eugene or Portland, OR. According to the Coffee Nostra, coffee must be ground every time you make coffee. So, a grinder is de rigueur (which is a French phrase for “super cool”).

A GOOD GRIND CAN BE LIKE YOUR FRIENDS; SOME ARE COARSE, AND OTHERS ARE VERY FINE.

People in the know love the Burr coffee grinder and not just because of Aaron Burr, who killed Hamilton, invented it. His invention is making a killing, I know, ironic. The Burr can grind 17 different ways (insert joke here), so it’s well worth the modest price.

Nate Note: Unlike the blade-type grinders, burr grinders produce a more consistent grind size. Blades always create dust, which makes your coffee taste bitter.

coffee brewing steps

STEP #3: THE BEAN IS BOSS

Okay, you’ve got your coffee maker, your grinder, now comes the hard part.

Back in the day, there were only three kinds of coffee beans, and two of them were found on top of Juan Valdez’s donkey.
Today, at last count, you have 26,341 different types of beans to choose from, some from countries you’ve never heard of before.

So, why whole beans? Could it be because all their essentials oils are locked inside? Yes, I just answered my own question. And make sure they’re freshly roasted.

Okay, where are these precious beans? At a local roaster or a small roaster who sells online. Don’t have one? Then go to GoCoffeeGo and you’ll find a selection of quality beans from several roasters…all in one shopping cart. Or just walk around a trendy neighborhood in your city and sniff around a lot.

coffee brewing steps

STEP #4: SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF

Now that the obsession of brewing the perfect cup of coffee has jeopardized your job and your social life, let’s go full-tilt OCD and talk about water thermometers. Yes, that’s right. Because if your heated water is only 185 degrees (the current temperature in Phoenix), you’re cheating yourself.

Those in the know say that 200 degrees in the gold standard of heatitude. So get that water thermometer out or get yourself the Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle and impress your friends. If you still have any left.

coffee brewing steps

STEP #5: WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE

The average human body is about 70% water unless you’re Michael Phelps. Then it’s 98.75%. The same for coffee. That’s why many people think of Michael Phelps when they drink coffee.

THE AVERAGE HUMAN BODY IS ABOUT 70% WATER UNLESS YOU’RE MICHAEL PHELPS.

So it’s important to use filtered water. Not tap water. That will only anger your grind. And angry coffee is yucky coffee. Spring water and filtered water are best. Distilled? Not so much.

coffee brewing steps

STEP #6: BREWING 101

If you aspire to be a great coffee brewer, then there are a few fundamental things you should know. So get out your calculators and take notes.

  • Coffee to Water Ratio
    “Do I really have to know this?” “Will this be on the test?” Hey, stop your bellyaching. This is important stuff. Ideally, the ratio for a great cup is 18 parts water to one part coffee. So, if you’re using 4 cups of water, then… umm… you should be using… uhhh…Math is hard! I prefer the eyeball method.

    Nate Note: I get crazy here and uses a Hario scale to measure the mass of water used. I use a scale because mass offers better consistency from brew to brew than measuring by volume. If you use a ratio of 15:1, it would be 1000 g of water to about 67 g of coffee. Coffee is subjective, so adjust the ratio until you find your preference. Note that you’ll adjust this ratio for various brewing methods.


  • Grind Particle Size
    When it comes to coffee, size matters. A medium fine grind is ideal for most brewing methods. A coarser grind says to the world, “I haven’t a clue about the brew.”…unless you’re using a press pot. So get out that Burr device and figure it out.

  • Water Temperature
    Don’t forget the water should be between 198 and 202 degrees.

coffee brewing steps

STEP #7: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE STARBUCKS

Gandhi once said, “This lousy coffee tastes like the Ganges! Send it back!”
Coffee is a very personal thing. Start your day with a bad cup of coffee and the whole day is ruined. But a great cup of coffee makes the world seem more tolerable, like a world with fewer Kardashians.

So how do you tell the difference? Well, if you take a sip of java and immediately spit it out and cry “Foul!” that’s a good indication you’ve just tasted bad coffee. Conversely, if you take a sip… smile, say “Ahhh!” and high-five your umbrella stand, then you’ve tasted the delicious stuff.

NO EXCUSE FOR BAD COFFEE

In summary, there’s no excuse for a bad cup of coffee anymore. Just follow the previous seven steps, and nirvana will be awaiting you. Namaste.

Black Friday Coffee Deals and Cyber Monday Coffee Deals

black friday coffee deals cyber monday coffee deals
ftc disclosure
Check out this automatically updating list of Black Friday and Cyber Monday coffee deals!

Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Coffee Deals…and Beyond!

Hello, shoppers!

This page contains LIVE deals. There are some spectacular offers going on right now. I also see some amazing ones that I’m not allowed to post yet, too. Be sure to come back often to see when new cyber week coffee deals go live.

If you’re looking for gift reccomendations, check out my Coffee Lovers Gift Guide.

There’s nothing as satisfying as getting all of your holiday shopping completed while seated at your computer. No crowds and no need to fight for parking spots. Many of these deals are published for Black Friday, but I also updated the list to reflect Cyber Monday additions.

Coffee is subjective. I realize that many of you prefer products that I wouldn’t purchase myself. Take it or leave it, here are the deals!

NOTE: These deals with the “redeem coupon” and “get deal” buttons are automatically updated, so if there’s a deal that appeals to you, it is active!

This list is continually updated to provide the most accurate information. The deals that you see inside of the beige circles are updated forever, so if a deal appears in this area, you know it is active and available for purchase well beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

To view more details about a particular offer, click the name of the deal you’re interested in. Sometimes, these limited deals include coupon codes. If an offer requires a coupon code, you will see it displayed next to the deal. Happy shopping, and I wish you a happy holiday season!

 

Starbucks

starbuckscm

Starbucks is offering various deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Get 25% off of your order, plus free shipping. The best deal they have right now, is for their popular refill mug. You get a travel mug that comes with 30 days of refills for just $40! Current deals are listed below!

Current Starbucks Deals!

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Nate’s #Coffee Gift Buying Guide!

coffee gift buying guide

As the holiday season draws ever closer, most of us are scrambling to find unique, useful gifts. If you have some coffee lovers on your list, then you’ve come to the right place! I will give you several coffee related gift options, several of which, most coffee drinkers do not already own. Brewing better coffee doesn’t have to be expensive, and neither do the majority of the corresponding gifts. I’ve included exceptional coffee products, in every price range in this coffee gift buying guide, suitable for any occasion.
 

Coffee Brewers

It is a common misconception that one must purchase an extravagant, expensive coffee maker to enjoy exceptional coffee. The best coffee brewers are frequently the simplest designs. Sure, you can make an awesome cup of coffee from a $10,000 machine, but you can make a cup that is almost as good from a $40 french press! Here are a few of the coffee brewers that are simple to use, offer repeatable, high quality results, and are just about dummy proof.
 

Bodum Columbia French Press

buy bodum columbia stainless steel french pressThe Bodum Columbia stainless steel french press, offers durability and excellent performance. After my family busted 3 glass press pots, I chose the Bodum (1308-16) Columbia press. Along with the ability to take a beating, the plunger assembly is much easier to clean than those found in the glass pots. The bottom of the plunger is a single piece, which contrasts to the 3 pieces of the glass Chambord. The 8 cup model is $70. Although the glass models are less expensive, I recommend the Columbia…especially if you have children!
 
 

Bodum Chambord French Press

buy bodum chambord french press coffee makerThe Bodum Chambord is the gold standard of french presses! This redesigned model features more chrome, which appears to aide with durability, as well as provide an attractive appearance. Brewing coffee with a french press is very easy to do, and provides a much more tastier cup, as opposed to automatic drip coffee makers. Cleanup is a bit more involved than with the Columbia model, but only takes a minute. Drip and other enclosed brewers collect mineral build up, which impacts the flavor of every cup. All of the parts of the french press are easily accessible and you can see the clean!
 
 

Bodum PEBO Vacuum / Syphon Coffee Brewer

buy bodum PEBO Santos vacuum syphon coffee brewerThe Bodum PEBO (formerly SANTOS) is one of my absolute favorite coffee brewers! It is an exceptional combination of practical coffee brewing and coffee theater.  Its effective vacuum brewing method extracts all precious oils of your favorite coffee, while leaving the sediment behind. The syphon brewing process is practically dummy-proof with this product. You can brew between 4-8 cups in this 34 oz. coffee brewer. $80.00
 
 

AeroPress Coffee Brewer

buy aeropress coffee maker brewer onlineThe AeroPress may appear to be a piece of drug paraphernalia, but it is actually and easy to use, coffee brewer. Amazingly enough, the makers of the Aerobie Flying disc stumbled upon an exceptional way to brew coffee. Even the snobbiest of coffee snobs enjoy the affordable AeroPress brewer. I love this brewer, when paired with the metal DISK filter from Able brewing. It allows more flavor to enter the cup, instead of getting trapped in the paper filter. The AeroPress is about $26.00
 
 

Chemex Coffee Brewer

buy chemex coffee brewer coffee maker onlineThe Chemex is a classic coffee brewer, which looks like a glass pitcher with a funnel at the top. The filter is placed into the funnel portion, insert the coffee, then pour hot water onto the coffee. This method will highlight different aspects of the coffee, as compared to other brewers. It works best when paired with the Able Brewing KONE filter, but works well with the standard Chemex filters…provided they are thoroughly rinsed with hot water. This brewer is a must for any coffee nerd. The 8-cup size is about $40.

 

Coffee Grinders

A proper coffee grinder is the single most important addition to any coffee drinker’s collection. No other purchase can make such a dramatic impact in the cup, as a grinder does. The typical coffee grinder that most people own, are those with the little blades in the bottom. It looks like a mini blender. These are NOT acceptable. The reason is due to the fact that each method of brewing coffee, requires a very specific, uniform size of coffee grind. The blade types cannot produce uniform sized coffee particles. They also create a lot of dust, and this makes your coffee bitter. What you need is a burr type coffee grinder. This is the only way to achieve the necessary uniformity and consistency in your coffee grind. It is not uncommon to invest more into a quality coffee grinder, than into a coffee brewer. In fact, it is typical. Here are some economical options of burr type coffee grinders.

Breville BCG450XL Conical Burr Grinder

buy breville bg450xl conical burr coffe grinder onlineThe Breville BCG450XL is built a bit more sturdier than the Bistro, with more metal parts. The receptacle is made of plastic, but static is minimal. The little receptacle cover is somewhat susceptible to breaking at the hinges, so be aware of that. The unit will continue function just fine, but you’ll have to replace the lid with each use. I have owned or gifted 6 of these units, and have yet to get a negative remark. It is easy to maintain, just follow my tutorial. 🙂 Again, not recommended for espresso grinding, but this unit is great for daily brewing from Moka pot to Press Pot. Enjoy! $129.99
 
 

Hario Skerton Hand Coffee Grinder

buy hario skerton hand coffee grinder onlineBrewing espresso at home can require a significant investment into a grinder and an espresso machine. To make it easier, the Hario Skerton hand grinder may be a good fit for you. This unit grinds perfectly for espresso brewing, but will not set you back $500. This unit only costs about $40, but gets tedious if you are grinding for more than two shots at a time. The hand grinder is also an excellent option fro traveling, and brewing in your hotel or on the camp site wit your AeroPress!
 
 

Miscellaneous Coffee Gifts

If the person on your gift list is sufficiently equipped with a selection of brewers and an excellent grinder, hope is not lost in finding a great gift. These items are specifically chosen for coffee lovers at all levels, even super coffee geeks will be surprised at your informed purchase of one of these items!
 

Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle

buy bonavita variable temp kettle gooseneck onlineThe Bonavita Variable Temperature kettle is the hottest item in coffee brewing, this year. Specifically designed for brewing with a Chemex, French press, or pourover methods, the Bonavita’s gooseneck spout allows for precise pouring and exceptional brewing. This kettle also features temperature control, to allow the user to achieve optimal brewing temperatures without having to use an external thermometer. (No more steam burns!) $89.99
 
 
 

Bodum Stainless Steel Travel French Press

buy bodum stainless steel travel french press onlineGreat coffee on the go is a tough do! With the travel french press, you will enjoy great coffee no matter where you are. Just bring along some extra coffee, and acquire some hot water. You will no longer have to suffer the woes of drinking the swill at the local diner. Order your breakfast with a side of hot water. This model is stainless steel as well as vacuum insulated, to keep your beverage hot. $18
 
 
 

Coffee Storage Container : CoffeeVac

buy tightvac coffee storage containers onlineFresh roasted coffee is packaged in sealed bags, with a one-way valve. This isn’t a vacuum seal valve, it is to allow the CO2 to escape the fresh roasted beans, while keeping the freshness killing Oxygen out! The same method is used with the CoffeeVac! It’s easy to open and close, and very economical. About $10, available in various sizes.
 
 
 
 

Planetary Design Double Shot Mug

buy planetary design double shot travel french press onlineAnother travel french press, but this one is different. It also comes with a second lid, which is a traditional lid. It also features a secret compartment, in the bottom, where you can store an extra dose of coffee grounds. The mug is sturdy, and the customer service of the company is excellent. I had one of the older designs, and the handle fell off. I had owned the mug for 6 months, and they replaced it with the new version, no questions asked.
 
 
 
Find other products that I recommend in the CoffeeNate Shop!

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